Getting arrested for merely taking a photograph of a law enforcement officer doing his or her job is all too common. In Memphis, there's a memo.
Will news judgment eventually be reduced to a formula that can be charted or is it best practiced by those, like Neetzan Zimmerman, with a particularly good gut instinct for what is news, or at lesat what will grab reader's attention?
Or, like in baseball, will there be quite a bit of space for both?
What does a graph like this mean for a newsroom?
Brian Abelson would like to come up with something more insightful than Gawker's pageview chart and has a concept of "Pageviews Above Replacement" that might turn out to a Money Ball statistic for newsrooms.
In briefest of terms, Abelson defines Pageviews Above Replacement, or PAR, as how well an article performs in comparison to similar articles that received similar levels of promotion.
While still early in his work, he has identiifed 10 factors that seem to predict how a story will do at The New York Times:
- Time on all section fronts (+)
- Number of unique section fronts reached (+)
- Was the article in the paper? (+)
- Was the article tweeted by @NYTimes? (+)
- Time on homepage (+)
- Number of NYT-tweets (+)
- Max rank on homepage (+)
- Word count (+)
- Is the article from Reuters? (-)
- Is the article from the AP? (-)
Then there's Zimmerman's method of identifying a hot story, or, more likely be widely virally popular. He keeps lists of topics and trends in his head and makes quick decisons, soemtimes with a few rough data points like the number of Facebook shares.
"Within 15 seconds, I know whether an item is going to work ... It's a biological algorithm, ... I've put myself into the system--I've sort of become the system--so that when I see something I'm instantly thinking of how well it it's going to do," Zimmerman told the Wall Street Journal's Farhad Manjoo.
No, journalism isn't about determing whether grumpy cats or sloths are hot, but there can't be too many editors that aren't thinking about ways to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of their dwindling editorial resources.
A related question is: Are there data points to measure whether a newsroom had a good day and what might that look like?
The idea of a data-driven newsroom is so foreign that editors don't even have a good idea of what to measure or how.
I'm interested to see what the "Bragg Innovative News Network" looks like when it launches Monday. The network was announced by Middle Tennessee State University earlier this week.
BINN, as it's being called, is a concept developed by nine MTSU students who aim to "knock down the traditional foundations of a journalism education" with cross-platform reporting. It's part of the MTSU's Center for Innovation in Media.
The above video above is a promo piece, but what the students have been working working will be broadcast Monday as part of a television show airing locally on Comcast Channel 10 on the student TV station, MT10, and radio segments on WMTS, according to a university news release. The stories also will be part of the final fall 2013 edition of Sidelines Dec. 4.
"...The Center for Innovation in Media is all about generating fresh takes on existing media and anticipating future media. What we love here is that talented students generate concepts that not only will serve students and public today, but will also kind of lay the groundwork for the media of the future," Ken Paulson, dean of the MTSU college of mass communication told The (Murfreesboro) Daily News Journal.
(Paulson, a former editor of USA Today, became Mass Communication dean at MTSU on July 1.)
BINN includes a website, TV pieces, print packages and radio stories. It's great seeing some interesting experiments in the future of journalism at the university level and at a school in Tennessee.
(Photo by John A. Gillis/DNJ)
Nice piece by NetNewsCheck on the plan by Cincinnati television station WCPO, owned by E.W. Scripps, to launch a paid-content model in January.
"This is a very aggressive experiment, and I guess I'd be pleased if they're scratching their heads because that means that they're not going to compete with us in the short term," (CEO Rich Boehne) says. "So maybe we'll get a good head start."
The real question, Boehne says, is why other television stations haven't tried it sooner. "Especially watching what the nation's newspapers are doing, why in the world would we not give this a try?"
Scripps' portfolio includes a number of daily newspapers in 13 markets that have already launched paywalls, so Boehne may be less averse than many to pull the trigger asking consumers to pay for something they're long used to getting for free.
(Full discolsure departemnt: I work for E.W. Scripps)
ASNE, APME and a host of other organizations protested Thursday the lack of access to photograph and video President Barack Obama performing official duties. We wrote about this issue on Oct. 30, 2013..
November 21, 2013
Dear Members of the American Society of News Editors and the Associated Press Media Editors:
For decades, American news photographers have captured iconic moments in and around the White House: President Kennedy, from behind in silhouette in the days before the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Carter, triumphantly joining hands with Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin at the signing of the Camp David Accords. President Reagan, walking out of the Oval Office for the final time. President George W. Bush, taking counsel from President George H.W. Bush along the White House Colonnade.
These presidents have recognized that photographic access by the public's press to their leader is essential to Americans' trust in the workings of government.
But not this president. The administration of President Obama is routinely denying the right of independent journalists to photograph or videotape the president while he is performing official duties. Instead, the White House is issuing visual press releases - handout pictures taken by official government photographers - and expecting news outlets to publish those.
These are not instances where national security is at stake, but rather, presidential activities of a fundamentally public nature. In recent months, these restricted events have included President Obama meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with African-American clergy, and with Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai.
In each case, the White House deemed the events "private," but then sent its own photographs to the press and directly to the public over social media. This is, we are sure you will agree, unacceptable practice, raising both constitutional and ethical concerns. These photographs are, in essence, government propaganda tailored to serve the president's interests and not the public's.
Today, a coalition of press organizations, including ASNE, APME, the White House Correspondents Association and many others, delivered a letter to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney expressing our concerns about this practice and asking for an immediate meeting to discuss those concerns.
In the meantime, we must accept that we, the press, have been enablers. We urge those of you in news organizations to immediately refrain from publishing any of the photographs or videos released by the White House, just as you would refuse to run verbatim a press release from them. We urge those of you in journalism education to highlight this issue in your classrooms. And we urge those with editorial pages to educate and activate the public on this important issue.
David Boardman Debra Adams Simmons
ASNE President APME President
Others signing the letter protesting the lack of access include:
The AP, ABC News, Agence France-Presse, American Society of News Editors, American Society of Media Photographers, Associated Press Media Editors, Associated Press Photo Managers, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, Association of Opinion Journalists, Bloomberg News, CBS News, CNN, Dow Jones & Company, Inc., Fox News Channel, Gannett Co., Inc., Getty Images, Lee Enterprises, Incorporated, The McClatchy Company, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, National Press Club, National Press Photographers Association, NBC News, New England First Amendment Coalition, News Media Coalition, Newspaper Association of America, The New York Times Company, Online News Association, Professional Photographers of America, Radio Television Digital News Association, Regional Reporters Association, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Reuters, Society of Professional Journalists, Tribune Company, The Washington Post, White House Correspondents' Association, White House News Photographers Association, Yahoo Inc.
I had breakfast the other day in Indianapolis with my friend James W. "Jim" Brown. He turned me on this video he did recently about the last column Ernie Pyle wrote, a handwritten draft found in his pocket after he was killed, and about plans to print it as a small "book" on a letterpress.
Among Jim Brown's many projects has been helping out Pyle's hometown museum in Indiana.
Warren Buffett's "newspaper guy," BH Media Group CEO Terry Kroeger answers questions from editors at the Associated Press Media Editors national conference on Oct. 30, 2013 in Indianapolis.
You may have seen many photos of President Barack Obama in his office. But did you know neatly all of those have been taken by the official White House photographer and released to the media.
The Associated Press, the largest U.S. Wire service, has only been allowed to photograph Obama in his office on two occasions, according to Associated Press Director of Photography Santiago Lyon.
Lyon said the administration's control of photo access and use of official photos amounts to propaganda.
He said no official explanation of the lack of access has been given and that greater access was common under previous presidential administrations.
"This works because newspapers use these handout photos," said Kathleen Carroll, Executive Editor of the Associated Press. She urged newspaper editors at the Associated Press Media Editors national conference in Indianapolis on Wednesday to not use these "press release" photos.
Carroll said the administration had been more closed in the second administration. The two times AP has photographed Obama in his office were during his first term.